Focused on female filmmakers, the Bird's Eye View Film Festival event explores the relationship between fashion and film at the BFI Southbank
Bird’s Eye View Film Festival is one of the most eclectic and inspiring film festivals in the UK. Focusing purely on the output of uncompromising female filmmakers, indepth and provocative panel discussions sit along side feature films, documentaries and shorts. Of particular interest is the Fashion Loves' Film event which showcases a range of stylised fashion films followed by a discussion with experts from both film and fashion industries, including Dazed & Confused's visual art editor Francesca Gavin, on the future artistic direction of fashion film.
The relationship between fashion and film has been complex, recent attempts to screen catwalk style shows met mixed responses, and many feel that the general lack of a thorough pitching process – common in music and short film – has held fashion films back. Filmmakers have teamed up with designers to create more experimental films (like those mentioned below) that engage with the concept of the design. Though large companies have taken a step in the right direction by hiring the likes of David Lynch (Dior) and Kenneth Anger (Missoni), the reliance on the nostalgia more resembles parody than progression. Dazed Digital spoke to some of the filmmakers involved in 'Fashion Loves Film' to get their take on the relation between fashion and film.
Sayaka Maruyama - ‘De Ja Vu’: I think fashion films are very much at the growing stage so there are a lot of possibility of breaking out the boundary of just being about designer's products. As it's moving images and not like a fashion show or look book, it can tell more about the stories, vision and concept that designers have, so it could be a more personal thing which is for public. Another possibility is that the clothes and products could be interpreted by different filmmakers and it could given some other people's vision.
Quentin Jones – ‘Holly Fulton S/S 2011’: "My film for Holly Fulton was shot before we actually had any of the collection so I was using my collaged style of animation to describe the overall vibe of Holly's pieces. We made her patterns, which are very graphic, come to life and she was awesome because she didn't mind if we screwed them up a bit in the process. The exciting thing about film over photography is that film has sequence and sound: we can surround the viewer in our world for a time. Holly's kitsch/colourful/humorous world is an excellent one to play with".
KT Autela - ‘A Piece Apart’, S/S 2010: "Film allows ‘character’ to play a bigger roll in the expression of fashion. For me, my film was about characters that were informed by the designers, ‘A Piece Apart's’, clothing. They make classic separate pieces in beautiful fabrics with tailoring that can feel androgynous. The abstract narrative was structured by these characters meeting".
Sarah Piantadosi – ‘Ostwald Helgason SS11’: "The great thing about placing the Ostwald Helgason SS11 collection into a film was the potential to delve a bit deeper into Suzanne and Ingvar's influences. The designers were into Brazilian colours, David lynch films and Scandinavian style minimalism. With such diverse influences I had a great time thinking up ways we could tie together these ideas in a film. I used movement to reflect the mood of the collection and to reflect its voyeuristic Lynchian perspective while the opening scene has strictly regimented still shots to reflect the linear clean shapes of their designs.
Movement and music were important yet subtle ways of reflecting the thought process behind the collection. The designers and stylists have to trust the director to tell the story. If the clothes in film come before the mood it will fall flat and feel like an advert. I think it’s even harder to pull off genuine mood in film than photography. The viewer calls 'bullshit' a lot faster if it’s not right".
Julie Verhoeven – ‘I WANT YOU’, 2010: "My film, 'I Want You' features next to no clothes, but it’s heavy on hands, gestures and desire. Clothes are another fabulous compotent of self expression and the camera loves them. I find film is a beautiful medium for expression through fashion. Clothes are seen at their best in movement on a living breathing form. Death to the mannequin!"
Fashion Loves Film is at BFI Southbank NFT1, Wed 9 March, 6.00pm